In the work of famous Norwegian painter and illustrator Theodor Severin Kittelsen (1857 – 1914) we can find great atmosphere of the deep Scandinavian nature and folklore.
Trained as a watchmaker in the coastal town of Kragerø in Telemark county, Norway, Kittelsen`s big talent discovered Diderich Maria Aall and after that he became pupil at Wilhelm von Hanno’s drawing school in Oslo. Then he traveled to Paris and in 1887 he returned back to Norway. In this time he found nature as his biggest inspiration and began to paint lyrical visions of the Norwegian nature with a lot of sense for mysticism and traditional Norwegian folklore of the spirits and forest legends. During this period, Kittelsen was hired to illustrate Norwegian Folktales by the folklore collectors Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe.
We show here two of Kittelsen`s artworks. One showing deep forest comes from 1900 and another called Forest Troll from 1906. Both illustrate his passion for the Norwegian nature and his interest in traditional folklore. His style between neo-romanticism and symbolism is very similar to the Czech artist and mystic Josef Váchal (1884 - 1969) and his graphic series "Šumava umírající a romantická". Both artists see the nature as an organic environment full of mysticism, dinginess and forest legends and spirits.
The similar approach we can see in one of the works very clearly. His Forest Troll (traditional Scandinavian myth) is a spectral forest creature that changes its form into the forest itself. Troll becomes woody hill and tells legendary stories about Norwegian nature, people and habits.